BBC in hot water over antisemitic caricature in Proms programme

The Algemeiner brings us a story which once again highlights the pressing need for the BBC to educate its staff on the topic of identifying antisemitism.Algemeiner pic

“The BBC apologized on Friday for publishing an antisemitic caricature of famed Jewish violinist Leopold Auer in a program for its annual summer concert festival.

“We use a range of caricatures and illustrations in our concert programmes and wanted one of Leopold Auer,” a BBC spokesperson said in an email to The Algemeiner. “We’re sorry to anyone who was offended by the image choice – this was never our intention.”

The spokesperson also said the BBC has “no plans to use that image again.”

The offensive illustration of Auer appeared in the program for a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. The concert was part of the BBC Proms, an eight week-long festival of concerts, lectures, workshops and family events, ending with the famous Last Night of the Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall. A number of composers specifically dedicated pieces to Auer, including Tchaikovsky.”

Read the rest of the Algemeiner article here and the Jewish Chronicle’s report here.  

8 comments on “BBC in hot water over antisemitic caricature in Proms programme

  1. As ever in the world of media and politicians this apology is directed at ‘anyone who may have been offended’ – i.e. the buck stops with us, not those responsible for the offence. Apologies that declare ‘if-offence-was-caused’ and ‘anyone-who-may-have-been-offended’ are not apologies; they do not actually admit any ‘offence’ exists except in the minds of those who have complained. A proper apology is an apology for doing something that the perpetrator understands is offensive. Do we believe that one of the most politically correct media institutions on the planet can’t see an antisemitic caricature? Pull the other one! But then perhaps! Part of a definition of institutionalised racism of any kind (as proclaimed by Lord Justice Scarman after the UK’s Brixton riots) is precisely that the institution CANNOT comprehend its own racism. These mealy-mouthed non-apologies shouldn’t be greeted by any of us with a belief that they’re real.

  2. The question has been raised about whether the caricature is really antisemitic (read into that the implication that Jews are over sensitive) or just offensive to the subject as caricatures so often are.

    Did the designer and/or the various BBC honchos who had to OK the programme before publication realise it could be taken as Jew Hatred? The Israel Haters have so mined medieval, Nazi and Soviet memes that classic antisemitic images no longer raise red flags. Perhaps, in today’s climate, that should that be black flags?

    I believe the programme designer used the graphic being quite aware of its antisemitic history. The only place I could find the image online was Lebrecht Photo Library: Music, Authors, History pictures, billing itself as ‘The world’s largest resource for music pictures and all the creative arts. The BBC illustrates material frequently from this stock library and have used their material for the Proms before.

    The catalogue description for this artwork stated clearly, ‘Antitsemitic caricature by Nicolai / Nicolas Legat (1869-1937), ballet dancer and teacher and artist.’ Unfortunately I didn’t take a screen grab because the library has removed the image (at BBC request?) in the last 24 hours.

    • “the library has removed the image (at BBC request?) in the last 24 hours.”

      A conspiracy monger eh?

      Regardless, it appears that you are a peddler of falsehoods.

      The now defunct web page you link on your blog did not describe this cartoon of Leopold Auer as: “Antitsemitic [sic] caricature by Nicolai / Nicolas Legat (1869-1937), ballet dancer and teacher and artist.” But: “Caricature by Nicolai Legat (1869-1937), ballet dancer and teacher and artist.”

      Cached page of 22 Aug 2015 19:38:10 GMT (won’t be available for much longer):

      Screenshot of above:

      • Please don’t call someone you don’t know a liar or a conspiracy monger.

        All the cache proves is that Lebrecht changed their catalogue and then later decided to remove the picture in its entirety. In writing the post I referred back to the original page several times over the course of a day. It was labelled as antisemitic caricature. The text was copy/pasted.

        Given that I am not a customer I can hardly expect Lebrecht to confirm something embarrassing to the BBC, a major customer. However, one might ask why Lebrecht removed the picture if it wasn’t embarassing to them or the BBC to be selling antisemitic articles?

        As Lebrecht has a collection of graphics categorised by the keyword antisemitism (with spelling variations) and a handful where the catalogue description uses the word antisemitic (belatedly screengrabbed and saved) one doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder why the Auer caricature suddenly was removed from display

        However I will ask readers of the blog if someone followed the link and read the word antisemitic. I will get back to BBC Watch on that.

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